Last Fall, the Michigan House passed a package of bills (HB 4980-4985, and 5120) that would allow more returning citizens to get on with their lives and make restitution for their crimes. There are now only 3 senators holding up these bi-partisan expungement bills in committee.

What is their sticking point?

The erroneous belief that expunging criminal records will reduce the payment of restitution – even though studies show that eliminating barriers to employment and housing does the exact opposite. An expunged record enables those responsible to pay what is owed to their victims

Passage of these bills would have a huge impact on the well-being on thousands of Michiganders. In fact, it is estimated that this would affect about 100,000 people in Wayne County alone. This bill package is a huge step forward and the time to act is NOW.

Please call these GOP members of the MI Senate Judiciary Committee
Sen. Ruth Johnson 517-373-1636
Sen. Tom Barrett 517-373-3447
Sen. Jim Runestad 517-373-1758

Example script for calling Senators
Hi, I’m calling to urge Senator ________   to vote YES on the expungement bill package being debated this week. The bill numbers are HB 4980-4985, and 5120. Allowing more Michiganders to expunge their criminal records has wide, bi-partisan support and would increase the chances that victims receive the restitution they are owed. Please vote YES. Thank you.

In Solidarity,
Terryl, Ginger & Margaret

The Michigan Resistance is an advocacy group that supports Democratic causes. We do not advocate for or against any candidate in a primary.

———————————————————————————————————

Additional Background: The bills would make the following changes: [0] [9]
● Automatic expungement for some offenders 10 years after their monitoring by the justice system ends: This would be if none of the convictions are assaultive crimes or serious misdemeanors, and only for convictions that were punishable by less than 10 years imprisonment. It would apply after the person has paid restitution. [2] (4980)
● Allow for the expungement of some traffic offenses: Driving under the influence and traffic offenses causing serious injury or death would not qualify for expungement. This changes the current law under which all traffic offenses go toward the total count of someone’s felonies and misdemeanors. [3] (4981)
● Allow expungement of marijuana convictions that would be permissible under current law: Most would be eligible to apply for expungement immediately. This process would not be automatic. [4] (4982)
● Shorten the eligibility waiting period for misdemeanors: Applications to set aside more than one felony could be filed after seven years. A serious misdemeanor or one felony could be expunged after five years. Other misdemeanors with no felonies could be expunged after three years. [5] (4983)
● Expand the number of people who qualify for expungement: Under the plan, a person with up to three felonies and any number of misdemeanors could have all their convictions set aside if none were assaultive crimes. Someone with an assaultive crime can have up to two felonies and four misdemeanors set aside. Convictions such as murder, domestic abuse, child abuse, and criminal sexual conduct would not be eligible. [6] (4984)
● Allow forgiveness for multiple acts committed during “one bad night”: Convictions for offenses similar in nature that were committed in a 24-hour period would be treated as a single felony if none were assaultive, if none involved the possession of a weapon, and if none carried a maximum penalty of more than 10 years. [7] (4985)
● Set up a non-public mechanism to keep a non-public record of expunged marijuana offences for use by courts and police. Non-public records about other types of expunged offences are covered by a different statute. [8] (5120)
References